Thursday, January 31, 2013


New York

I've been doing a little cleanup behind the scenes of Lurking under the couch and behind some dust bunnies, I found several posts that never got published. Here they are should you be interested in looking under the furniture.

A Flurry of Culture Shock, funny episodes on returning from a month in Paris.
Catch Me If You Can, my life as an impostor
Liberation Comes in Many Colors, thoughts on Mom and me and apples falling from trees.

who are these people? me | chip | cara mia | our very long timeline

Saturday, January 26, 2013


New York

As I work and write throughout the day, I watch the New York City skyline across the water. She looks so peaceful from my vantage point 27 floors up, on the other side of the Hudson -- and she changes clothes as the hours pass, lovely in pink and blue and gray.

Soon after this, she disappeared completely behind a veil of snow.

The New York City skyline, my companion, my muse.

who are these people? me | chip | cara mia | our very long timeline

Thursday, January 24, 2013


New York

dream |drēm| noun
to contemplate the possibility of doing something

The first time we sailed up to a tropical island and dropped the anchor, it almost seemed familiar, not because I had been there before, but because I had contemplated the possibility of doing it so many times. Extreme planning and years of hard work got us to that island paradise, but dreams were the ocean we sailed on.

Cruising, while being the glorious realization of a dream, is not a destination. We continue to contemplate possibilities, like spending a month in Paris with our kids or in New York seeing friends and family. And then we do it.

Even as we prepare to sail to the Bahamas this season, my imagination has been oh so busy contemplating our next adventure, the grandest and most sprawling one yet. Dreams are a big, big ocean, and I love sailing there.

I dream, and I hope it's contagious.

who are these people? me | chip | cara mia | our very long timeline

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


New York

In December 2008, we were deep in the heart of a waiting game, waiting for our house and business to sell, so we could go sailing, waiting through the worst economic disaster of our times.

When this was written, we had no idea that we had two long years of waiting ahead of us, yet I was already grasping at the lessons of patience.

Read more ....

who are these people? me | chip | cara mia | our very long timeline

Monday, January 21, 2013


New York

Imagine the world as a huge bulletin board. I used to be held in one place by a tack made of a house, cars, belongings and our business. Since we removed that tack three years ago and started floating around the bulletin board, my thoughts on home and paradise have changed.

As much as Cara Mia is 'home' to me, so too is the Airbnb room in Corte Madera, California, the guest room at my mom's in Roswell, New Mexico, and the studio apartment on Rue Ligner in Paris. Without that tack pulling me back to a certain spot on the planet, I find myself utterly content to be wherever I've landed, completely settled by just unpacking my bag.

In the same way, I used to define paradise as a tropical island with turquoise water and white sand beaches. While we could park ourselves and our boat permanently in that luscious version of paradise, there's a reason we use that trite French phrase 'vivre la différence.' Paradise for me is a changing tableau, varying sights, sounds, foods and people, changing scenes and seasons. We are delightfully 'untacked,' free to experience it all.

This week, we have unpacked our bags in Jersey City, just across the Hudson River from Manhattan. Chip is continuing his wine consulting gig here. So, while Cara Mia waits in St. Augustine, we are 'home' in New York, seeing family and friends, eating amazing food and watching this beautiful water feature outside our apartment window, this month's version of paradise.

And soon enough, we'll be parked once again in that tropical version of paradise, toes in the sand, relishing it all the more for having left behind the cold, gray bustle of the city.

Bundled up and happy in our neighborhood bar.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


St. Augustine

As reported earlier, we gave the dinghy, aka Your Mom, a complete makeover. We seriously thought she was beyond repair, but after filling her with sealant and slathering her with paint, she's like a teenager again. And one month later, she's still holding air. Amazing.

Chip, with help from Dale, gave new meaning to "launching the dinghy." Karen and I pushed them off the top of the slide and, whoosh! The dinghy was launched.

Our next mission-critical step before setting off: try out the new motor, a Tohatsu 6HP (a big upgrade from the old 3.5). Check!

Getting the dinghy onboard always comes with a sense of expectation, nervous excitement, like having the car packed for vacation. A n t i c i p a t i o n.

who are these people? me | chip | cara mia | our very long timeline

Saturday, January 19, 2013


St. Augustine, FL

Who came up with this idea of changing the oil in the kitchen?
We've been a regular chain gang, trying to get Cara Mia into shape for a season in the Bahamas. I talk a lot about a sailor's play, but our chores sometimes get overlooked. In addition to the ongoing battle against the elements, we have routine maintenance that demands our attention.

The engine enjoyed a spa day -- oil change (my first time to do it by myself), transmission fluid change and coolant flush (Chip's first time to do that). She's purring and ready to go. Now I need a spa day.

Instead, I attended my own version of CrossFit, hauling around 280 feet of chain. I'd been meaning to pull it all out and have a look and being at the dock offered a perfect opportunity. You can tell from the photo which end we've been using. As with most things on a boat, regular use actually keeps equipment in better condition than disuse (or misuse). The first 100 feet on the left gets regular "cleaning" from friction between the links, passing through the windlass and dragging through sand.

The other end sits idle in the bottom of the anchor locker getting a daily salting from the working chain.

Originally, I thought I would clean the whole thing and flip it. Big ideas, big plans. I got all the chain out of the dock, and the dock chatter began. Sailors are an opinionated bunch. Lots of theories were bandied about, products recommended, products tested, jokes made, beers consumed. I measured and rearranged it several times.

In the end, we had to leave town on short notice, so I deferred the entire chain dilemma to next season. Chip cut off about 10 feet of the good end with a Dremel, because it was showing some wear. I marked it every 20 feet (so we know how much chain we have out) and then we just heave-hoed the whole thing back into the chain locker the same way it was before all the ballyhoo.

I did clean out the chain locker while it was empty and get the secondary anchor, a CQR, into deployable condition (good thing we never had an emergency requiring a backup anchor). Chip serviced the swivel and put a new shackle on the Delta, so progress was made, muscles were used, future chore lists were written.

There was some sweat, some cursing, some bruises, but soon enough we'll be looking down at that chain happily dangling in crystalline turquoise water.

who are these people? me | chip | cara mia | our very long timeline

Thursday, January 17, 2013


According to my latest column in Classic Yacht magazine, we are in Warderick Wells in the Exumas. Never believe what you read.

In fact, Cara Mia is in Florida, and we are in New Jersey where Chip is finishing up his wine consulting job here with a major supermarket chain. He's training staff, overseeing a chain-wide wine reset and helping with the grand re-opening of a store that was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.

We will be back on Cara Mia the second week of February, ready (so ready) to hop to the Bahamas as soon as the weather allows.

In the meantime, I'll be updating you on what we've been up to the last few weeks -- working too hard on boat chores to get any blogging done!